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Reception of Converts and Profession of Faith

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APPENDIX: RECEPTION OF CONVERTS AND PROFESSION OF FAITH

(As prescribed by the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office on July 20, 1859; with the new form for abjuration of errors and profession of faith, approved by the Holy Office for the use of converts, and communicated through the Apostolic Delegate to the U. S. on March 28, 1942.)

In the case of a convert from heresy, inquiry should first be made about the validity of his former baptism. If after careful investigation it is discovered that the party was never baptized or that the supposed baptism was invalid, he must now be baptized unconditionally. However, if the investigation leaves doubt about the validity of baptism, then it is to be repeated conditionally, using the ceremony for baptism of adults. Thirdly, if ascertained that the former baptism was valid, reception into the Church will consist only in abjuration of former errors and profession of faith. The reception of a convert will, consequently, take place in one of the following three ways:

I

If baptism is conferred unconditionally, neither abjuration of former errors nor absolution from censures will follow, since the sacrament of rebirth cleanses from all sin and fault.

II

If baptism is to be repeated conditionally, the order will be: (1) abjuration or profession of faith; (2) baptism with conditional form; (3) sacramental confession with conditional absolution.

III

If the former baptism has been judged valid, there will be only abjuration or profession of faith, followed by absolution from censures. But if the convert greatly desires that the full rites of baptism lacking hitherto be supplied on this occasion, the priest is certainly free to comply with his devout request. In this case he ought to use the form of baptism for adults, making those changes necessitated by the fact that baptism has already been validly conferred.

The priest vested in surplice and purple stole is seated in the middle of the altar predella, unless the Blessed Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle--in which case he takes a place at the epistle side. The convert kneels before him, and with his right hand on the book of Gospels makes the profession of faith as given below. If the person is unable to read, the priest reads it for him slowly, so that he can understand and repeat the words after him.

Profession of Faith

I, N.N., .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father ...., having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell, the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.

I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.

I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.

I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.

Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.

I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.

So help me God and these holy Gospels.

The convert remains kneeling, and the priest, still seated, says psalm 50, or psalm 129, concluding with "Glory be to the Father."

After this the priest stands and says:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Save your servant.

All: Who trusts in you, my God.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness: through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

The priest again sits down, and facing the convert pronounces the absolution from excommunication, inserting the word perhaps if in doubt as to whether it has been incurred:

By the authority of the Holy See which I exercise here, I release you from the bond of excommunication which you have (perhaps) incurred; and I restore you to communion and union with the faithful, as well as to the holy sacraments of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lastly the priest imposes some salutary penance, such as prayers, visits to a church, or the equivalent.

SHORT FORM FOR PROFESSION OF FAITH

(In case of grave necessity only)

I, N.N., reared in the Protestant religion (or another religion as the case may be) but now by the grace of God brought to the knowledge of the truth, sincerely and solemnly declare that I firmly believe and profess all that the holy, Catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church believes and teaches, and I reject and condemn whatever she rejects and condemns.

After this the priest says psalm 50 and the rest as above.

SHORT FORM FOR CONDITIONAL BAPTISM OF ADULT CONVERTS

(To be used only in dioceses that have received this special indult)

{On January 4, 1914, Pope Pius X granted permission to the archdiocese of Philadelphia and to all dioceses of that province to use the following short form of conditional baptism, in the case of converts who had received baptism in the sect to which they formerly belonged, with the provision that the faculty would have to be renewed as circumstances require. See "American Ecclesiastical Review," Dec. 1914, p. 723.}

P: N., what are you asking of God's Church?

Convert: Faith.

P: Do you believe in God the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?

C: I do believe.

P: Do you believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was born into this world and suffered for us?

C: I do believe.

P: And do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?

C: I do believe.

P: N., do you wish to be baptized if you are not validly baptized?

C: I do.

P: N., if you are not baptized I baptize you in the name of the Father, + and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

The ceremonies of anointing with chrism and the bestowal of the white robe and of the lighted candle are not of obligation in this case, but a matter of edification. Because of their mystic signification they ought not to be omitted if they can be carried out. The preceding rite is followed by sacramental confession with conditional absolution.

THE ITINERARIUM

Or Invoking God's Blessing When Starting on a Journey

A cleric when starting on a journey says the following in the singular if he is to travel alone; but in the plural if he has companions:

Antiphon: May the almighty and merciful Lord lead us in the way of peace and prosperity. May the Angel Raphael be our companion on the journey and bring us back to our homes in peace, health, and happiness.

Then the Canticle of Zachary is said; and after the canticle the above antiphon is repeated. Then the priest continues:

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Save your servants.

All: Who trust in you, my God.

P: Lord, send us aid from your holy place.

All: And watch over us from Sion.

P: Let us find in you, Lord, a fortified tower.

All: In the face of the enemy.

P: Let the enemy have no power over us.

All: And the son of iniquity be powerless to harm us.

P: May the Lord be praised at all times.

All: May God, our helper, grant us a happy journey.

P: Lord, show us your ways.

All: And lead us along your paths.

P: Oh, that our life be bent.

All: On keeping your precepts.

P: For the crooked ways will be made straight.

All: And the rough places plain.

P: God has given His angels charge over you.

All: To guard you in all your undertakings.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

God, who led the children of Israel dry-shod through the sea, and showed the way to the three Magi by the guidance of a star; grant us, we pray, a happy journey and peaceful days, so that, with your holy angel as our guide, we may safely reach our destination and finally come to the haven of everlasting salvation.

God, who led your servant, Abraham, out of Ur of the Chaldeans, and kept him safe in all his wanderings; may it please you, we pray, also to watch over us, your servants. Be to us, Lord, a help in our preparations, comfort on the way, shade in the heat, shelter in the rain and cold, a carriage in tiredness, a shield in adversity, a staff in insecurity, a haven in accident; so that under your guidance we may happily reach our destination, and finally return safe to our homes.

Lord, we beg you to hear our request that you guide the steps of your servants along the path of well-being that comes from you, and that in the midst of this fickle world we may always live under your protection.

Grant, we pray, O Almighty God, that your party of travellers find a safe route; and heeding the admonitions of blessed John, the precursor, come finally to Him whom John foretold, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever.

All: Amen.

P: Let us go forth in peace.

All: In the name of the Lord. Amen.

BLESSING AT MEALS

Before the Noonday Meal

The priest, or the father of the family, who is to bless the table says:

P: Bless the Lord.

All: Bless the Lord.

P: The eyes of all hope in you, Lord.

All: You give them food in due time. You open your hand and fill all creatures with your blessing. Glory be to the Father, etc.

P: Lord, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

P: Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Let us pray.

Bless us, + O Lord, and these your gifts which we are about to receive from your bounty; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

One of the family: Please, Father, give us a blessing.

P: May the King of everlasting glory give us a place at His heavenly table.

All: Amen.

After the Noonday Meal

If there has been reading at table the reader concludes "But you, O Lord, have mercy on us. All: Thanks be to God." Then all rise.

P: Let all your works praise you, O Lord.

All: Let all your saints glorify you. Glory be to the Father, etc.

P: We give you thanks, almighty God, for all your benefits; you who live and reign forever and ever.

All: Amen.

P: Praise the Lord, all you nations; * glorify Him, all you peoples.

All: His love for us is enduring; * He is faithful forever.

P: Glory be to the Father.

All: As it was in the beginning.

P: Lord, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

P: Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: He has been generous to the poor.

All: His goodness is everlasting.

P: I will bless the Lord at all times.

All: His praises are ever on my lips.

P: My soul will exult in the Lord.

All: The meek will hear it with gladness.

P: Praise the Lord with me.

All: Let us heighten our praise of His name.

P: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

All: Both now and forevermore.

P: Lord, be pleased to award everlasting life to all who do good to us in your name.

All: Amen.

P: Let us bless the Lord.

All: Thanks be to God.

P: May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

All: Amen.

Then an Our Father may be said silently, after which this conclusion is added:

P: May the Lord grant us His peace. All: Amen.

Before the Evening Meal

P: Bless the Lord.

All: Bless the Lord.

P: The poor will eat and receive their fill.

All: Those who seek the Lord will praise Him and will live forever. Glory be to the Father, etc.

P: Lord, have mercy.

All: Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.

P: Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)

P: And lead us not into temptation.

All: But deliver us from evil.

P: Let us pray.

Bless us, + O Lord, and these your gifts which we are about to receive from your bounty; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.

One of the family: Please, Father, give us a blessing.

P: May the King of everlasting glory bring us to His heavenly banquet.

All: Amen.

After the Evening Meal

P: The kind and compassionate Lord has left us a memorial of His wondrous deeds.

All: He has given food to all who live in holy fear. Glory be to the Father, etc.

P: Blessed is God in His gifts and holy in all His works; He who lives and reigns forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Then they alternate in saying Ps. 116 "Praise the Lord, all you nations" and the rest as given above after the noonday meal.

If only one meal is taken the prayers are those of the evening meal.

The preceding manner of blessing and giving thanks at meals is used at all times of the year, except on the days noted below, when there are some variations.

On the Feast of Christmas until supper on the eve of Epiphany exclusive

P: The Word was made flesh, alleluia.

All: And dwelt among us, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as above.

At the end of the meal:

P: The Lord has manifested Himself to us, alleluia.

All: The Savior has appeared to us, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as above.

On Epiphany

and throughout the following week

Before and after meals:

P: The kings of Tarsis and the islands pay tribute, alleluia.

All: The kings of Arabia and Saba bring gifts, alleluia.

And the rest as above.

On Maundy Thursday

Before meals:

P: For our sake Christ was obedient unto death.

Then the Our Father is said silently by all; after which the priest makes the sign of the cross over the table without saying anything.

P: For our sake Christ was obedient unto death.

P: Have mercy on me, God, in your goodness; * in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense.

All: Thoroughly wash me of my guilt, * and cleanse me of my sin.

The rest of psalm 50 can be said; but the doxology is:

P: Lord, we beg you to look with favor on this family of yours, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be handed over to wicked men and to submit to death on the cross.

Then all say the Our Father silently; the rest is omitted.

On Good Friday

At both meals all is said as on Maundy Thursday, except that the versicle is:

P: For our sake Christ was obedient unto death, even to death on the cross.

On Holy Saturday

Before the noonday meal:

P: For our sake Christ was obedient unto death, even to death on the cross.

All: This is why God has exalted Him, and given Him the name above all names.

The rest as on Maundy Thursday.

After the noonday meal: the same versicle and response is said as before the meal; then follow the verses of psalm 50 as above on Maundy Thursday. Lastly the priest says:

Grant, we beg you, almighty God, that we who devoutly anticipate the resurrection of your Son may partake of the glory of His resurrection.

Then all say the Our Father silently; the rest is omitted.

Before the evening meal:

P: The chief priests and the Pharisees went and secured the grave.

All: By sealing the slab and setting the guard.

The rest as on Maundy Thursday.

After the evening meal the same versicle and response is said as before the meal; then follow the verses of psalm 116:

P: Praise the Lord, all you nations; * glorify Him, all you peoples.

All: His love for us is enduring; * He is faithful forever.

After this the Our Father is said silently; and then the prayer "Grant, we beg you, almighty God" as after the noonday meal.

On Easter

and throughout the octave

Before meals:

P: This day was made by the Lord, alleluia.

All: We rejoice and are glad, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as under Blessing at Meals.

After meals:

The same versicle and response are said as before the meal, and the rest is the same as Blessing at Meals.

On Ascension and throughout the following week

Before meals:

P: God mounts His throne amid shouts of joy, alleluia.

All: The Lord rises on high amid trumpet blast, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as Blessing at Meals.

After meals:

P: Christ rises on high, alleluia.

All: He leads the onetime captives to freedom, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as Blessing at Meals.

On Pentecost

starting on the eve and throughout the octave

Before meals:

P: The Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world, alleluia.

All: He sustains all things and knows man's words, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as Blessing at Meals.

After meals:

P: They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, alleluia.

All: They spoke in foreign tongues, alleluia. Glory be to the Father, etc., and the rest as Blessing at Meals.

HOME ENTHRONEMENT OF THE SACRED HEART

{His Eminence Albert Cardinal Meyer, in a televised talk given on May 31, 1964, said: "The enthronement of the Sacred Heart in a home is not just a pretty ceremony once performed and then forgotten. It is a way of life. It is the official and social recognition of the loving kingship of the Heart of Jesus in a Christian family." The Cardinal also noted that the presence of a priest is not necessary at the enthronement; that the father of the family may conduct the ceremony; but that if a priest were present he could bless the picture or statue of the Sacred Heart during the rite. The present suggested ceremony may be adapted according to circumstances, depending on whether a priest or the father of the family presides at the enthronement.}

On entering the home the priest sprinkles holy water in the living room and on the members of the family, saying:

Purify me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean of sin. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Have mercy on me, God in your great kindness. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

All: As it was in the beginning, etc.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: Lord, heed my prayer.

All: And let my cry be heard by you.

P: The Lord be with you.

All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.

Hear us, holy Lord and Father, almighty everlasting God, and in your goodness send your holy angel from heaven to watch over and protect all who live in this home, to be with them and give them comfort and encouragement; through Christ our Lord.

All: Amen.
Let us pray.

Lord Jesus Christ, as I, in all humility, enter this home, let there enter with me abiding happiness and God's choicest blessings. Let serene joy pervade this home and charity abound here and health never fail. Let no evil spirits approach this place but drive them far away. Let your angels of peace take over and put down all wicked strife. Teach us, O Lord, to recognize the majesty of your holy name. Sanctify our humble visit and bless + what we are about to do; you who are holy, you who are kind, you who abide with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever and ever.

All: Amen.

An Early Christian Inscription on a Home[1]

The victory is Christ's. Begone, Satan. Our Lord Jesus Christ, God's Son and Word, lives here. Nothing evil may come inside. Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, in your mercy keep your eyes on this house day and night. This is the Lord's door. Those who come through it must be just. God the holy, God the strong, God the undying, crucified for us, have mercy on us. You have our trust, Lord; may we have your mercy.

The priest then blesses the picture or statue of the Sacred Heart using the blessing of an image of our Lord. Afterward he says:

Prayer of Christ the High Priest

At that time Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and said: "Father, the hour is come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. You have given Him authority over all mankind, that He might give eternal life to all you have entrusted to Him. And this is the sum of eternal life--their knowing you, the only true God, and your ambassador Jesus Christ.

I have glorified you on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, for your part, Father, glorify me in your bosom with the glory I possessed in your bosom before the world existed. I have made your name known to all men whom you singled out from the world and entrusted to me. Yours they were, and to me you have entrusted them; and they cherish your message.

I am offering a prayer for them; not for the world do I pray, but for those whom you have entrusted to me; for yours they are. All that is mine is yours, and yours is mine; and they are my crowning glory. Holy Father, keep them loyal to your name which you have given me. May they be one as we are one. I have delivered to them your message; and the world hates them, because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not. I do not pray you to take them out of the world, but only to preserve them from its evil influence. The world finds nothing kin in them, just as the world finds nothing kin in me. Consecrate them to the service of the truth. Your message is truth. As you have made me your ambassador to the world, so I am making them my ambassadors to the world; and for their sake I consecrate myself, that they, in turn, may in reality be consecrated.

O Father, I will that those whom you have entrusted to me shall be at my side where I am. I want them to behold my glory, the glory you bestowed on me because you loved me before the world was founded. Just Father! The world does not know you, but I know you, and thus these men have come to know that I am your ambassador. I have made known to them your name, and will continue to make it known. May the love with which you loved me dwell in them, as I dwell in them myself.

Prayer to the Sacred Heart

Lord Jesus Christ, we acknowledge you as King of the universe. All that has been made exists for your glory. Exercise over us your sovereign rights. We now renew the promises of our baptism; we again renounce Satan and all his works and attractions; we again promise to lead a truly Christian life. And in a very special way we undertake to bring about the triumph of your rights and the rights of your Church. Sacred Heart of Jesus, we offer you our poor actions to obtain that all men acknowledge your sacred kingly power. May the kingdom of your peace be firmly established throughout the world.

All: Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, who, while you were subject to Mary and Joseph, sanctified family life by your unexcelled virtues; grant that we, aided by Mary and Joseph, may be inspired by the example of your holy family, and so attain the happiness of living with them in heaven. We ask this of you who live and reign forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Lastly the priest blesses the family:

May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, + and Holy Spirit, come upon you and remain with you forever.

All: Amen.

OATH AGAINST MODERNISM

I, N.N., firmly accept and embrace each and every doctrine defined by the Church's unerring teaching authority, and all that she has maintained and declared, especially those points of doctrine which directly oppose the errors of our time. In the first place I profess that God, the beginning and the end of all things, can be known with certitude and His existence demonstrated by the natural light of reason from the things that are made, that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause is known from its effects. Secondly, I acknowledge and admit the external arguments for revelation, namely, divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, as most certain signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion, and I hold that these are perfectly suited to the intelligence of every age and of all men, including our own times. Thirdly, I also firmly believe that the Church, the guardian and teacher of God's revealed word, was directly and absolutely instituted by Christ Himself, the true Christ of history, while He lived among us; and that the same Church was founded on Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and on his successors to the end of time. Fourthly, I sincerely accept the doctrine of faith in the same sense and with always the same meaning as it has been handed down to us from the apostles through the officially approved fathers. And therefore I wholly reject the heretical notion of the evolution of dogmas, according to which doctrines pass from one sense to another sense alien to that which the Church held from the start. I likewise condemn every erroneous notion to the effect that instead of the divine deposit of faith entrusted by Christ to His spouse, the Church, and to be faithfully guarded by her, one may substitute a philosophic system or a creation of the human mind gradually refined by men's striving and capable of eventual perfection by indefinite progress. Fifthly, I hold as certain and sincerely profess that faith is not a blind religious sense evolving from the hidden recesses of subliminal consciousness, and morally formed by the influence of heart and will, but that it is a real assent of the intellect to objective truth learned by hearing, an assent wherein we believe to be true whatever has been spoken, testified, and revealed by the personal God, our Creator and Lord, on the authority of God who is the perfection of truth.

Furthermore, in all due reverence I submit to and fully uphold all the condemnations, declarations, and directions contained in the encyclical letter "Pascendi" and in the decree "Lamentabili," especially as regards what is called the history of dogmas. I also reject the error of those who allege that the faith proposed by the Church may conflict with history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, cannot be reconciled with the actual origins of Christianity. I condemn and reject, moreover, the opinion put forth that a more learned Christian can assume a dual personality, one as believer and another as historian, thus making it permissible for the historian to maintain what his faith as a believer contradicts, or to lay down premises from which there follows the falsity or the uncertainty of dogmas, provided only that these are not directly denied. I likewise reject that method of determining and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, setting aside the Church's tradition and the analogy of faith and the norms of the Holy See, adopts the principles of the rationalists, and with equal arbitrariness and rashness regards textual criticism as the sole supreme rule. Moreover, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a teacher of the science of historical theology or a writer on the subject must first put aside any preconceived notions about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine aid promised for the continual preservation of each revealed truth; or that the writings of individual fathers must be interpreted solely by the data of science, without any reference to sacred authority, and with the same freedom of judgment usually accorded to any profane records.

Finally, I profess that I am far removed in general from the error of the modernists, who hold that there is nothing inherently divine in sacred tradition; or who--which is far worse--admit it in a pantheistic sense. For then there would remain only a bare simple fact, like the ordinary facts of history, to the effect that the system started by Christ and His apostles still finds men to support it by their energy, shrewdness, and ability. Therefore, I most firmly retain and will retain to my last breath the faith of the fathers of the Church, which has the supernatural guarantee of truth, and which is, has been, and ever will be residing in the bishops who are the successors of the apostles (St. Irenaeus 4. c. 26). And this is not to be so understood that we may hold what seems better suited to the culture of a particular age, hut rather that we may never believe nor understand anything other than the absolute and unchangeable truth preached from the beginning by the apostles (Praeser. c. 28).

All this I promise to keep faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and to guard inviolably, and never to depart from it in any way in teaching, word, or writing. So I promise, so I swear, so help me God and His holy Gospels.

ENDNOTES

1. "Early Christian Prayers," A. Hamman, O.F.M., Henry Regnery Co., 1961, p. 87.



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